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Sea Sock


New Member
Feb 18, 2023
Hi there.
I have just finished building my very first skin on frame kayak. I am very new to the world of kayaking and was wondering if anyone has ever used / made a sea sock. I understand they are an important safety feature to have when using sof kayaks ?
I am really looking forward to getting out on the water, and a dry suit seems like a must at that time of the year...Their prices can be a bit forbidding, but I heard through the grape wine that you could find more affordable ones on Ali baba.com. Was wondering if anyone has ever gone that way ?
Thanks a lot everyone ! IMG_0154.JPG
Flotation bags (air bags) and/or a sea sock are essential in a boat without sealed compartments and bulkheads, IMO.
I tried to buy a drysuit on AliBaba a few years ago after watching a YouTube video by an American who had a great review of a direct-from-China drysuit. My transaction didn't go through, as it seemed the AliBaba system didn't like my credit card...the same credit card I use very frequently on AliExpress. A friend here in Victoria ordered a suit from China (Ali Express?) and the fit was terrible, in spite of advertised suit dimensions which looked appropriate. I think there were also some quality issues. It cost him a lot to send back the suit, so the refund wasn't a lot of consolation. Hopefully you will have better luck if you order from China!
'Deals' on used suits do come up from time to time and can be OK if you learn to replace gaskets - an essential DIY skill if you are a drysuit user. But with new suits costing so much, even used suits have increased in price in the last few years.
I don't know of anyone producing a sea sock, but there are lots of affordable float bag options out there.

I hear you regarding drysuit prices. They're a bit nuts these days...
My very first sea kayak was a plastic Nimbus Puffin, which had a sort of moulded-in hard plastic "seasock" as its cockpit area. This made it pretty much self-bailing as you righted it after a capsize. I liked this so much I tried to get the same effect when I bought my first composite boats by purchasing the seasocks Feathercraft made for their folding kayaks. A totally different experience, and not in a good way. Sweaty, clingy and I suspect with potential to hang you up in a wet exit. Plus the waterproof PU delaminated quickly.

I think a more practical way to ensure safety in a boat without bulkheads is reserve buoyancy from combo drybag/floatbags. Watershed makes the Futa Stowfloat, excellent for bow and stern tips, standard with an oral inflation valve to top it up for maximum floatation. Watershed's duffle drybags are also bomber watertight, and can be custom ordered with inflation valves to fill up the remaining space. Rig some sort of anchor/tiedown system to prevent any floatbags from bobbing out of the cockpit during a wet exit (or even shifting enough that they're selfishly taking up the space in the cockpit you'd like to re-occupy.)
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I had this article published 20 years ago in MASIK and coincidentally I was just asked a few days ago if they could republish it in an upcoming issue.

edit: link not working. See attachment a couple of posts down
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The problem is, there may not be vendors offering sea socks anymore. They were a basic item with Mariner kayaks and Feathercraft (boats that didn't have bulkheads) - both companies now out of business. Google shows Trak Sea Sock for about $149 USD.

I often use one in the mariner when I don't have any other flotation - like on a day paddle. On a multi-day expedition, I may opt to just take a smaller inflatable float bag (rolled up and packed as "gear" when not in use) to use during day paddles. The sock does keep the interior of the boat cleaner when dealing with sand and mud - but the boats get a good cleaning after every adventure anyway.

One hint is to attach the shock-cord perimeter to the front/back of the cockpit rim, leaving the sides "open", get in, adjust your legs/feet, and then bring the bungee over at the sides to complete the seal. If you don't do that, if you seal the rim completely before you get it, the material isn't so cooperative, as you push it out of the way with your feet/legs/hips.

My paddling partner who has a no-bulk head Mariner (mine have a rear bulkhead, giving me one watertight compartment for safety), eschews sea socks and has to reload his dry bags in order to give some water displacement and flotation during our day paddles after making camp.
Very interesting articles and great sources of information !
I have settled for a duo of bow/stern float bags sold at Coastoutdoors. As far as drysuits, I have instead opted for combining the use of a John farmer wetsuit and a dry top. ( Found interesting discussions on the topic on the west coast paddler forums).
I have since the last post come across this small skin on frame kayak which I have started to refurbish...


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